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Pages tagged "Professional Development"


On baseball & building a team

main.jpgI don’t really follow sports, so the bulk of my athletic knowledge comes from movies. (I watched my mom’s beloved Cubs win the World Series this fall with at least part of my brain thinking, “Oh, they’re playing baseball, like in A League of Their Own.”) When I caught up recently with the 2011 film Moneyball, based on the book about the use of sabermetrics in baseball, I wasn’t expecting to care much about its stats-heavy story -- much less find an analogy that I’ve returned to frequently in my life. But the movie’s central concepts have continued to come up in my work when I think about team-building and what I and my colleagues bring to our jobs.

Moneyball’s story focuses on Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt), general manager of the struggling Oakland A’s and a former MLB player himself. As a high school student, we see in flashbacks, he was singled out by major-league scouts impressed by his well-roundedness: He was equally good at hitting, running, and fielding. That promise led him to give up a scholarship to Stanford… but then his big-league career fizzled.

moneyball.gifThe insight that eventually leads to the Oakland team’s success under Billy Beane is this: Players who are good at everything don’t necessarily help a team win. Scoring the most runs is what really matters, and players getting on base is what helps teams score runs. The most important stat in this view is “on-base percentage” -- so a player who draws a lot of walks could be more valuable than a power hitter who’s inconsistent.

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Shimmy and swim to confidence

Speak Up. Don't Speak Up. Be Assertive. Raise Your Hand. Calm Down. Interrupt. Be Nice. Don't Be Intimidating. Don't Be Angry. Calm Down. Stop Shouting. Dress Respectably. Be Confident.Every person at the latest Pollen Work Redux event about Confidence was beautiful. I mean this in the sense that the folks attending were projecting a seriously genuine aura of belief in themselves, support, and kindness, and it was absolutely amazing to be in a room with 250 other women with that kind of vibe.

This is true of every event I go to in this series focusing on bringing together “women spanning diverse backgrounds to reimagine the future of the workplace.” Unfortunately, there’s no space large enough for every woman in the Twin Cities to simultaneously experience a Work Redux event, so this blog is my little part to share the message far and wide – women are in the workplace and, in the words of Pollen’s Jamie Millard, we have a crisis of confidence, but together we are going to totally rock the world.

Pollen's Work Redux events embody what Nancy Lyons of Clockwork (and one of the panelists) advised – “As leaders, we make room for people to come exactly as they are.” Outside of our jobs, we have families, passions, hobbies.  We are activists and artists, naturalists and explorers. We can’t leave our worries, our mental and physical illnesses, or our insecurities at the door. We are whole people, and accepting a whole person in a space – especially a work place – can bring so much to the table. How we accomplish this can look really different, depending on the space.

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Does your boss have your back?

main4.jpgLife in the nonprofit sector is challenging. The pay is often low, the challenges are high, and burnout is a real and serious concern. Many people come to YNPN looking for insight about how to succeed in this challenging field. Proactive workers looking for ways to excel can have an especially difficult time accepting that they don’t have total control over their own destiny in an organization. The reality is that your boss or supervisor holds the keys to a prosperous or painful path, and they need to want you to succeed if you’re to shine.

As the person who dictates your duties, evaluates your performance, and has the final say on whether to pursue the ideas and projects you propose, your boss is a critical figure in your professional life. It benefits you to do what you can to encourage a positive relationship. But sometimes it can feel like you’re on different teams, despite both of you working for the same organization with the same mission.

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Life on leave: Lessons learned as a new parent

tummytime.jpgTwenty-sixteen has been an incredible year for the Winegar household. In April, my husband and I celebrated a major milestone: We became parents. Our son, Garrett, is pretty awesome (#MomBrag) and he's definitely schooled us when it comes to parenting. There is undoubtedly a steep learning curve as any new parent will tell you, but while on maternity leave, I found there were four lessons I could aptly apply to my professional life, too.

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What are you waiting for?

main.jpgI quit my job today.

It wasn’t a bad job. It didn’t have a horrible boss or nightmare coworkers. In fact, I should have been loving it. I had my own desk with a window, flexible hours and a salary with benefits. I was one of the lucky ones. I had a job in my field guaranteed the day I walked across the stage and was handed my diploma. It was the epitome of a successful college career. What more could I ask for? 

But, after classes ceased and the mundane work days all too rapidly began to blend into a depressing spiral with an unforseeable end, I panicked. What had I done? How did I get to this point? Was this going to be my life for the next 20 years?

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Career power up: Professional mentor

mario.jpgI’ve been fortunate to have several opportunities for professional development in the past few years, both within and outside of my workplace. Among the webinars, cohorts, workshops and trainings I’ve pursued, working with a mentor has been the most beneficial.

First, I have to say that I can’t believe mentorships aren’t more common. I know people who have had similarly positive transformative experiences with personal and professional mentors, but it feels like an arrangement that remains massively underutilized on the whole.

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A "required" reading list

main.jpgIt can feel like it takes a lot to be in touch with your field in addition to accomplishing the daily grind. I’ve learned that there are resources at your fingertips, as well as places for sleuthing, that can make the whole process easier. If you’re like me, doing this will help you contextualize yourself in your work, your organization, and in the larger nonprofit community.

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What a two-person office has taught me about workplace culture

main.jpgI recently celebrated one year at my company, jabber logic, which provides marketing and consulting services for nonprofits and small businesses. In the past year, as I’ve explained to friends and family what I do — helping clients rebrand, managing social media, writing website copy — there’s one fact that seems to stand out most: I’m one of just two people in my office

My boss, Amee McDonald, founded the company with her husband, and we work with contract employees on specific projects. But, most days, it’s just the two of us in an open office. There are no cubicles to retreat to, and no hiding the fact that you just microwaved a fragrant bowl of soup. I’m not only constantly aware of the office dynamic; I’m partially responsible for it. And while that alone can be demanding, it’s also been a valuable lesson in determining the kind of workplace culture I want and what I can do to shape it.

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So you’ve got an idea... Now what?

You have an ideaThe beginning of the year is a time for optimism, planning new changes, and gearing up for greater impact than the year before. It’s a time of inspiration, but how often have you felt stymied, misunderstood, or rejected when trying to get the rest of the team on board?

There are many challenges in translating ideas into action. First, getting the idea from fuzzy dream to clear concept. Then, getting others to understand your vision for change. If you’ve made it this far (congratulations!), now you need to translate the ideas into actions, not to mention figuring out the implementation and (if you were right) the impact.

Still inspired? Fortunately, even our breakthrough innovations can follow in the footsteps of past brilliance. There are tools, steps, and process that can reduce your risk and guide your direction. Let’s go through the steps.

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Give to the Max Day, everyday

Since the wild success of the Ice Bucket Challenge last year, the impact of successful social media marketing has become a hot topic among nonprofits. Personally, after seeing countless friends douse themselves with iced water in the name of charity, I started to look more closely at how my favorite nonprofits use social media. Unfortunately, I see too many nonprofits’ Facebook pages that haven’t been updated since 2014 and Twitter accounts with ten posts per day. Navigating social media can be a difficult task for marketing purposes—and a daunting one for fundraising.

Thankfully, GiveMN’s Give to the Max Day is a statewide crowdfunding initiative that makes it easier to use social media for fundraising. It’s unprecedented growth each year is a testament to the importance of crowdfunding in modern fundraising. If your organization isn’t capitalizing on crowdfunding through social media, here’s why it should:

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